|THE DISAPPEARANCE OF “BANDIT”
I first met Bandit in the winter of 1983 one cold damp morning around 1:00
A.M. when our dog “Good Dog” a half German shepherd and Samoyed began
barking profusely. Half asleep, I somehow managed to get my hands on a
5-cell flashlight and proceeded to investigate the disturbance.
I opened the back door of the house and quickly scanned the back yard area
to locate the intruder. I saw nothing abnormal and much to my surprise
I had overlooked the nearby garbage can which was only a few feet away from
my position. What I saw was a very large raccoon standing atop the
refuse in the garbage container. The beam of light from the flashlight
had the raccoon’s eyes glowing a bright greenish color from within the black
mask covering most of his head. His fur was bristled and stood on end as
well. For a few brief moments we starred at each other neither giving
ground. Finally, the raccoon who I later named Bandit, leaped from the
garbage can and slumbered off a few yards, stopped and turned around making
eye contact again.
Good Dog being the loyal watch she is was straining very hard on her running
lease and cable system in an attempt to rid her domain of this non-invited
guest which could possibly have been her first contact with a raccoon.
Well, ole Bandit finally exited the back yard moving as if he owned the
place and probably wondering why his late time snack was interrupted by all
the commotion. Good Dog ran out of bark and retired to her A-frame
house after several praises from her “master” for being alert and on the
Bandit made several more appearances that winter and following spring with
similar tactics being employed on the garbage can and was a master at
removing the lid as I will further explain. That particular refuse
container in use then would take a minimum of two hands and sometimes a
bracing leg to remove the stubborn lid because the can had been distorted by
the constant crashing against the garbage disposal truck’s steel frame by
the sanitation employee’s efforts to remove the refuse from the can.
I can remember many times while watching the late midnight news the sound
made by the metal garbage can’s lid striking the ground as Bandit threw it
there. Good Dog by now had become accustomed to this intruder and no
longer would sound the alarm since she must have sensed Bandit was no threat
It was a couple of years to follow before Bandit took up residence, or it
was by then when we found at least one of his (condos) dens that he used
quite frequently. A large sweet gum tree that had a cavity (hollow)
big enough to house Bandit was one of his favorite winter and spring homes,
which was located in a small wooded area between White Store Road and West
Avenue. Bandit apparently didn’t mind visitors to his den sweet gum tree and
we watched him from ground level many times in the few short years to
Myself and several of our family members observed bandit resting on his
favorite porch, which was a large fork in one the upper limbs. Bandit
would watch us with the same curiosity that we had for him and he would
stretch, yawn and move around with no overt fear displayed for us.
Bandit would also use a persimmon tree in the fall when it’s fruit was ripe
and free for the taking and during the harsh winter months when pickings
were very slim, he would venture as far west as Moore street and raid a few
dog and cat feeding dishes when their guardians were asleep on the job.
However, this past winter, Bandit did not make his usual rounds and I hoped
he would be seen by spring but Bandit still didn’t return. I thought, well
maybe he became too bold and ventured too close to a watchdog awake and on
the job, or perhaps he moved too slow while crossing White Store Road which
has 50 mile per hour plus traffic late at night, or maybe he died of natural
causes…….the variables were endless, but still I just couldn’t help
wondering what did happen to ole Bandit.
I continued to ask around the neighborhood enquiring about Bandit and a few
weeks ago I was in a place of business and one of their executives stated
that one of his employees had told him about a person that had trapped a
very large raccoon in my vicinity. The employee was later contacted and did
verify what was related to me and I was puzzled as to why a beautiful
harmless raccoon that had adapted to “city life" would be destroyed.
With the usage of a not to sophisticated legal surveillance system it was
concluded as to why ole Bandit had to go. The bottom line was that a
“flock” of blue bird boxes had taken up residence on the same property that
Bandit was using and the blue bird box owners wanted to protect the blue
birds or future nesting blue birds from predication from raccoons, cats,
squirrels or anything that would be a potential threat to them.
I broke the individual referenced above from
"sucking eggs" as I took out a warrant on him for spray
painting my cat that he had caught in a live trap on his property and he had
two local attorneys hired and they still lost the case in court. Guess
this ole country box out foxed them. He was found guilty of cruelty to
animals, a small fine imposed and had to pay the cost of court. As the
two attorneys where leaving the courtroom, the individual's spouse was
laying some serious words on those two high dollar attorneys.....I am still
grinning to this date! The story made national headlines and some
locals called him cat man when they went by his place of business up town
when he was standing out front and he would quickly retreat back inside.
It is to my understanding he received hate mail from all across the country.
In SUMMATION, mankind being the stronger has the power to decide who
or what lives or dies at the other’s expense, but the question is, “Is it
morally right”? We are entrusted to be good stewards over what God has
created and this is a tremendous responsibility and task for all of us.
Animals, fowl, fish and all of our natural resources are utilized by all of
us in one form or another for sustenance, but the needless, reckless
destruction and wastefulness of the same without the employment of proper
management techniques will bring devastating results as history has shown us
many, many times in the past.
The ones that usurp their power, authority and control over less fortunate
and abuse creatures, lower plant and animal forms, natural resources and
yes, mankind; will have to answer and reap their just reward from the true
Judge of all.
We may escape man’s judgment, but God’s judgment is inevitable and final.
Before you kill that harmless garden snake, step on a passing insect, throw
that too small fish just caught on the bank to die, etc., and ask yourself
this question! Does not this creature desire to live? Make the right
decision. Self-preservation and survival is common to all things. I am
sure ole Bandit wanted to live also.
Photo of my "bride" taken in 1980 with our pet raccoon "Ringtail":
Written by Bill aka Mickey Porter and updated on 04-15-15.